Former SW estate agent Chris Wood has won his legal battle with the National Trading Standards Estate Agency and Letting Team (NTSEALT) following a tribunal hearing and called for a ministerial review of how the organisation operates.
While running his agency PDQ Estates during 2014, which he subsequently closed down in late 2019, Wood became embroiled in arguments with NTSEALT and the Advertising Standards Authority over comments he made about Purplebricks business model within blogs on his agency website.
Following a complaint to the ASA, NTSEALT took up the baton and initially threatened Wood with a banning order and then a warning order over the online comments.
It then started its own investigation into Wood and his agency based on allegations of malpractice by a former client.
The complaint was dealt with The Property Redress Scheme which concluded that Wood had not misled the client at all but issued a nominal fine for their ‘inconvenience’. NTSEALT took a different view, concluding that Wood had committed, amongst other serious accusations, fraud.
Wood, supported financially by the Federation of Small Business, fought this and says he has now been vindicated by the tribunal ruling which ruled there was no evidence provided by NTSEALT against him, and that his name has therefore been cleared.
Wood says: “I am now calling for a full ministerial review of [NTSEALT] and its legal advisors as to whether they are competent in their role, are serving the public and the law-abiding estate agent well and, why they have failed to prosecute hundreds of agents and major PLCs who have demonstrably broken the law as well as statutory codes of estate agency,” he says.
Chris has since left estate agency and now runs successful virtual reality tour creation business, Ocean 3D Ltd predominantly making spaces more accessibility friendly for people with hidden conditions or injuries.
A spokesperson for National Trading Standards says: “Christopher Wood was issued with a Warning Order as the NTSELAT and the adjudicator had grounds to believe he had engaged in a misleading commercial practice contrary to Regulation 6 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
“Although the First-tier Tribunal has recognised some wrongdoing by Mr Wood, on this occasion a decision has been made that either a Prohibition Order or a Warning Order is ultimately not justified. We look forward to continuing our work to protect consumers and businesses.”